Should we be allowing sleepovers?

Sleepovers have become a thorn in my parental-side.

Snugglin' my littlest

(the BEST sleepover, right here!)

Not actually HAVING them… but letting my children GO to them.


And considering what has come to light with politician Michael Gardner… I just want to add my 2 cents about the famed childhood tradition: The Sleepover…

Our family is very careful.

And I am sure many families are. Though I am always a little knocked to the side when an authentic invite comes when I’ve not met the parents or have no idea what the inside of their home looks like.

By the way, my kids are 7, 10 and 12. Young and getting to be not-so-young.

I struggled for a long time with the thought of allowing any sleepover for my children. A situation with a young girl I grew up with, in a sadly similar situation as the one involving Michael Gardner (that came to light years after my childhood, but well before my parenthood) has given me a profound pause when it comes to letting my kids sleep over at someone else’s home.

Even with families I feel I might know very well.

The thing is: you just never know.

For example, I know someone who KNEW, trusted… etc… and *it* still happened.

To a child with parents who are careful. And protective. And talk to their kids.


But it’s not just molestation that worries me.

I was at a Mother’s of Preschoolers group one time and a speaker made a point that hit home for me as one who would be not only sending my kids overnight, but bringing other children into my own home… At night, we (the family) are tired. Our guard goes down. What about domestic violence? What about what parents think is OK to watch on TV at night? What kind of pajamas do they walk around the house in? Etc, and whathaveyou…

Allowing one’s child to sleep over in another home has risk. Period. Be they your best friend or someone you met just once.

I liked what this article had to say about how to keep our children safe. However, when considering a sleepover I don’t just consider my children’s bodies – I consider the mind and heart as well.


What does our family do? Since you asked…

I don’t want to “deprive” my children of the great fun and great memories of childhood sleepovers. They can be SO much fun! So…

We have a pretty small circle of friends. I guess our own little “Circle of Trust”.

We have stepped outside it a time or two, but… makes my tummy upset. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

It’s hard to keep that circle closed. New friends come along… GREAT families. Sleepover invitations bounce our way often.

And it’s awkward.

To say no.

To have boundaries.

With people who are probably absolutely wonderfully safe.

But my perspective is, yes… it’s uncomfortable and PROBABLY, MOST LIKELY perfectly safe.

But then… Michael Gradner. Upstanding citizen.


What about older siblings?

I’ll be honest, I am not wild about the thought of sending my girls to a sleepover where there is a teenage boy – particularly if I’ve never met him.

(I just want to add a note for my few wonderful teen fellas who read here . Yous guys. I know and adore, and if you are reading this right now… I am not talking about YOU)…

But parents… I make this point as the mother of an almost-teenage boy. I know my boy and trust him, but I don’t expect that trust from other parents with little girls.

Unless one absolutely bans the sleepover altogether, there will always be risk. What hit home hard for me was when it happened to a family I have long admired and know to be very safe with their choices for their children.

It can happen to anyone. And not just at sleepovers.

This parenting business. It is not for the faint of heart… How about you? What does your family do?


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70 Responses to “Should we be allowing sleepovers?”

  1. The Maven says:

    and perhaps what is most frightening is that if something **bad** is going to happen, it’s more likely to happen at a sleepover, where they people are known and trusted, then with a stranger in a park.

    I have years before I need to think about this, but gahhh

  2. Amy G says:

    Oh Jenny, I have SOOOOO much to say about this. For the most part, I am right there with you. Only a select few will I allow my daughter to spend the night and out of them, I am questioning whether to allow her to stay any further at one of them, who I have been close with for many years. At the beginning of the school year, I went against my better judgment and allowed her to stay the night at a gals house. She will NEVER stay there again. The next day, I found out that the mother was smoking pot in her bedroom as well as cigarettes in the car in the presence of my allergic child and her asthmatic child. Subsequently, this is the child that mine has been having problems with all school year.

    It is so hard to determine who’s, for lack of better terms, “good enough” or “meets our standards” for this traditional event. I try to make sure that I am very familiar with the family and their home environment. I try not to judge on “marital status”, race, religion, etc. Most of all, I go with my gut, how my child has interacted with the family, how she’s been treated, what she has seen on “play dates”, etc. I don’t think there will ever be a sure thing feeling as it is our babies that are being put in the hands of somebody other than our own.

    This is such a wonderful subject, thank you for bringing it up.

  3. I *really* don’t like sleepovers. We’ve had something happen when we did allow them (twice, it was ‘just’ exposure to a movie we’d never let our youngster watch), so now we are extremely careful and almost always the answer is no (it is always no for our 9yo and 12yo, but our 14yo daughter occasionally goes to a trusted family of all girls).

    Our one unbendable rule is they cannot go to a sleepover where there’s an older boy present, no matter how wonderful he is. I had older dorm brothers in my boarding school, so I know of what I speak. Parents need to be more careful than careful for their girls’ sake but also for the boys, who really don’t need extra temptations dangled in front of them while they’re already growing & confused & testosterone-filled.

    I’d rather pick up a kid at midnight than have them sleep over.

  4. Michelle W says:

    I can’t stand sleepovers. And there are so many of them!!!??!!
    My 12 YO is going this weekend to yet another Birthday party sleepover. Luckily I trust everyone there, but it still makes my belly hurt.
    Parties have more than just a few though, so somehow, I feel safer.
    I think a lot of parents feel this way.
    Thanks for writing about it.

  5. micki says:

    Thank you for this… My 5 y.o. son has been asked a couple of times sleep over at friends of both sexes… My Mommy sense told me it want a good idea… I guess I need a little more practice with trusting that. SO much to think about!

  6. micki says:

    *to sleep over

    Darn auto correct!

  7. Stacey says:

    Like you, Jenny, we had our circle of trust, but my daughters are now 11 and 14 and unless I know the parents, have had a conversation or been to their house and feel 100% comfortable, it’s not happening. It’s also not happening if there are teenage boys in the picture. There will be plenty of time for sleepovers when my kids are at college or grown up and want to hang out with their gfs all night. You can’t undo something once it’s done and I’m a firm believer that if it doesn’t feel right, don’t allow it.

  8. Just had a similar conversation with our kids 7 and 10 who are making play dates and why we would rather have the kids here first before they go there for any reason. There has been one sleepover outside of family. I would rather be that mom that everyone wants to come over – I am sure you are that mom too!

  9. Nope. Not happenin’! Our rule is no sleepovers. Ever. Sorry, kids. I have four kids: girl 10, boy 8, girl 6, boy 2. We do lots of “late nights,” which end at, like 10:30 and involve jammies and pillows and movies and popcorn and pedicures, etc… but then the parents come to get them and we all go to bed safe and sound!

    When i slept over at friend’s houses as a kid and tween I saw pornography, overhead domestic fighting, overhead parents having “relations”, witnessed satanic/evil channeling… it was an education, to say the least!

    We do ask people to keep our kids overnight when we go out of town, as we don’t have family nearby to help. But we choose them carefully, and even then i am usually disappointed in the stories i hear about the movies/tv shows that were watched with all the little children present.

    Hey Jenny, guess what… I’ve been thinking about your blog and your personality and your PRESENCE online a lot lately. You are a happy place to be πŸ™‚ I didn’t realize how similar our blog names are until I actually launched mine last week. You are on the spot, whereas i am IN THE THICK OF IT. At least we know where we are πŸ™‚

    An afterthought and TOTALLY a game play for why i left a comment today: This Friday i am throwing my first linky party since my blog re-branding and the topic is “Dear Mom, Love- Me”. We are writing letters to our mommies. Or another Mommy. I am considering writing one to J Simp or J Lo or J on the Spot. πŸ™‚ I would SOOO love to read a letter from you to your momma, so consider joining in, ok? Maybe? {smooches} http://angieinthethickofit.com/2012/05/dear-mom.html

    • Angie… thank you so much for sharing. I think a lot of the passionate responses (for and against) are rooted in our own personal experience. Those who have expereinced something negative or harmful are more cautious, those that have had only positive experiences don’t see the problem.

      We haven’t had easy access to family help, so we have needed to be open to receive help too. I relate!

      And the rest… I need to check out the link… I suppose it’d be due soon!

  10. Jen says:

    A friend of ours has coined the term “sleepunder” – show up in PJs, eat pizza, watch a movie, have popcorn, get picked up and go home. Don’t know if it would work for the older set, but it is working for my 5 and 7 year olds.

    Also, a relative was having a sleepover for her girls with the whole gymnastics team. The question came up – should the father of the girls be present in the house during the sleepover, to protect himself? It’s sad that we have to think about this from both sides.

    • I agree, it is sad we have to think of that… And I must admit, I hadn’t thought of that. In a Facbook group I belong to, I shared this post and a single dad of one girl and one boy… brought this up… It sure is a tough one. And I like the idea of a sleepunder! I think it is worth extra effort on our part… no fun heading out to follow through so late at night, but it shows our kids a lot about our interest in them… to not only be safe, but to be able to get that time in with their friends.

  11. Emily says:

    I’m with Angie. We don’t allow sleepovers unless you consider friends visiting from out of town and staying with us (the entire family) as sleepovers. We are all for late nights–hang out, eat junk food, watch good, uplifting movies and get picked up before midnight. It’s a great solution for us. The world is a very scary place and kids are growing up way too quickly as it is. I’d like to protect their childhood as much as possible while I can.

    • I want to highlight, ” protect their childhood as much as possible while I can”… there is a lifetime to discover, but only a handful of these young years they get to enjoy. Amen, my friend… xoxox

  12. My husband and I are both therapists, so we tend to hear a lot of stories of molestation that happened in childhood. SO MANY TIMES at a sleepover. Most often, at a family friend’s house. It’s not just the parents, too. So often it’s kids doing stuff they learned with each other. Then you add in the advent of internet porn and how available it is . . . and yeah. No. My kids won’t do sleepovers.

    No one has ever come to me seeking therapy because their parents didn’t allow sleepovers, ya know?

  13. beth says:

    What I want to know, is WHY they are so very prevalent these days? (do I sound old? geeze…) It would seem from the comments above that there is a large(ish) contingent of parents who say NO (me included!!) most of the time, but why on earth are my kids asked over and over to spend the night? You bring up so many good points….and motivate me to want to clarify with my own kids about why our rules are the way they are. Thanks for getting people thinking about talking about this. By the way, one commenter mentioned sleepunders–sounds like a much better idea!

    • You know, I am so enjoying all the commentary here. Many good points are being made. I think what really needs to be happening is mindful parenting. No helicopter or permissive… That parents THINK about the decisions we make on behalf of our children. What is see in the discussion here are parents who do seem to weigh that. Whether they allow sleepovers or not… It’s the parents who are not intentional in deciding that make me most worried. Thank you for being an intentional parent πŸ™‚ xo

  14. Andrea says:

    Oh Uggity ugh ugh! We are battling with sending T to YMCA camp seymore this summer—I am in twists already thinking about it. SO I’m going to drag my feet until we miss the deadline! Sleep-overs….I don’t like them–even parents I like –have SUCH different boundaries than I do–I don’t let them watch crazy movies or play crazy video games. TOOOOO many things to worry about. How do we give them all the tools they need for every situation? Why is this parenting business so hard sometimes? Why can’t they stay little?

  15. Lucy says:

    My goodness, I have no idea how I will handle this someday. All we have to guide our decisions is intuition…and all we have to guide our hearts is faith. I don’t want to live my life in fear, but it appears there’s a lot to be scared of. Our job is to protect, and we must stay focused, as you have demonstrated. Keep it up, mama.

  16. Diana says:

    We aren’t parents yet, but have already agreed that our kids won’t do sleepovers. PERIOD. I saw and experienced WAY too many traumatic things as a kid at sleepovers. In kindergarten, at a sleepover, the parents played the movie Poltergeist for us to watch. I didn’t understand it but knew of parents, older siblings (male and female)and even kids the same age molesting my friends. These were all families my parents knew and trusted.

    My husband and I led a pre-teen/teen recovery program for a few years and I had so many kids telling me of things that happened at sleepovers. I like what Kristen said in a previous comment, no one came to us for help because of not being allowed to go to sleepovers.

    We definitely don’t live in the fear of what-ifs, but this is an easy way to protect your kids in our opinion.

  17. Grace says:

    I am definitely NOT comfortable with my children going to a friends house for a sleepover. I have three kids {15 year old daughter, 11 year old son, and a 17 month old boy}. My two oldest kids have been to sleepovers once, each. It was with people we trust however my daughter will bring up sleepovers from time to time and I know more than likely will end up with her getting upset but hey that’s fine because their safety and well-being is MUCH more important than a tantrum. So no, I do not allow my children to go to sleepovers. It is also something my parents didn’t allow either. So don’t feel bad for “depriving” your children from fun memories. There’s plenty of other ways to create them. Safely.

  18. Lucretia says:

    Reading this post (and the comments) just twigs all of my mommy red alerts.

    It’s so tough to know where the line is… but sleepovers are such a big deal. The kids think they’re going to love them – but what is so awesome about sleeping on someone’s floor or waking up in someone else’s house?

    We have that circle of trust thing going on too. But it’s so hard to know that you’re not making a huge mistake. Every predator has people who would tell you they just don’t believe s/he could do it.

    Honestly, it seems hypocritical, but we have no problem having other people’s kids spend the night here while not being so trusting ourselves. But that’s not just because of possible predators, it’s because we have pretty strong beliefs about ‘age appropriateness’ when it comes to television, movies, music and video games. We also have a kid who has deadly food allergies – so we keep a peanut & tree nut free household here, but don’t expect other people to have those.

    There are so many reasons to be cautious.

    • I feel hypocritical too… I am the same way. Though none of my children have food allergies. I have some friends who have children with food allergies and that can be super-tough.

      Re: cautious. Yes. That is a GREAT way to put it.

  19. sally t. says:

    I totally agree with what you are saying. We have had only two people spend the night here. One is my husbands cousins little girl (who is less than a year younger then my daughter), and the neighbor boy who is the same age as my oldest. We are VERY PICKY about who our kids go visit. And they have not spent the night some where else since I had rhys two years ago. I do like the idea of having late nights and then going home before bed. Especially as they get into their teens and having boys and girls. I feel you can never be too careful with your children. And coming from experience, too much can happen at sleep overs. So as much as my kids may complain at me, there are not going to be many sleep overs in their future.

    • It’s hard when they complain, but coming from a pretty rules-heavy background… I realize now (though imperfect, as we all are)… I now see where those rules helped protect me not only from danger, but from situations that might have forced me to grow up too soon.

  20. Tiffany Musselman says:

    We only let our kids have sleep overs at people’s houses that we know or have met the family and have a good vibe with. We let anyone have a sleep over at our house. In fact, I have found it is a great way to learn about your children’s friends having them sleep over. You learn who you want your child to foster a deeper friendship with after spending a Saturday night with a particular child. There was one time when a little girl slept over at our house and she jumped all over our furniture. She was also unkind to another guest. I mentioned to her that we don’t walk on our furniture in our house. The child continued to walk/jump on our furniture. I was shocked by the blatant disrespect from this child. I think my daughter was relieved when I would not let her hang out with this child again.

    I am also fearful of letting our children go to sleep overs at homes when we have not met the child or the parents. What we do in that situation is a half sleep over. We will pick up our child between 10:00 – 12:00. This gets harder and harder as our children get older (14, 13 & 11). I consider ourselves as fun loving parents (probably cooler than our kids think we are). It’s a fine balance between being too over protective and giving your children room to grow and experience their childhood. The key is to have open communication with your kids. I think our kids understand better why we make the decisions we do when we can explain why we make those decisions. Listen to your gut. It is always right!

  21. Kat says:


    I had this exact conversation with my sister once! I will sign the no sleepover petition!!

    This year my 8 year old was invited to a swimming party at a hotel over night. There were just so many things wrong with that…where were they all going to sleep? Who’s watching them at the pool? Thank goodness I have a shy, cautious girl. She was all “I don’t think that’s a good idea Mom”.


  22. Wow guys… I want to go and reply to each of you… and I will later today. But… LOVE what each of you are sharing. And so appreciate that you ARE!

  23. Amanda says:

    My girls are still youngβ€”4, 6 and 7, so we aren’t really in the sleepover stage. We have a family with kids of a similar age and we have done camping trips together and each New Year’s we do a sleepover at one of our houses. This way, the kids get to have fun, no one is out on the road, and everyone still gets to parent their kids.

    I don’t know if this will always work, but for now, my plan is to create the safest scenario whenever I am given the options.

    Such a good theme you have brought to the table!

  24. Xenia says:

    I never understood why my parents didn’t let me go to sleepovers until I was a parent. Our circle of trust is very very tiny, there are so many people with good titles who do everything right in their outer life that end up doing bad things to children and it’s so disgusting.

  25. Carina says:

    My answer is always, “Yes! You can totally have a sleepover at your grandparents’ house. Yes! It will be you and your brother. You’ll have so much fun!”

    Now, someone help me convince my parents to allow sleepovers.

  26. Heather says:

    I 100% agree. My daughter had a good friend at school who was always inviting her over for the night. We hadn’t met the girl or her mother, and just didn’t feel comfortable with it. Luckily, every invitation came at the same time we already had something else planned. Then one day we met her mother and alarm bells went off. Something wasn’t right. A month later she was in the news–for cooking meth in her house. With her kids there. In a very nice, respectable suburban neighborhood. My mommy gut instincts were correct–no sleepovers in someone else’s home, unless we KNOW them and their values.

    We do sleepovers and campouts here at our house quite often, but with a select group of kids whose parents also happen to be our closest friends. My kids have sleepovers with each other as well, sleeping on the family room floor in sleeping bags, watching movies until late in the night. But as for going elsewhere? That’s limited to one or two very, very close friends, You just never know!

    • Isn’t amazing how our instinct just knows… Sometimes the proof takes awhile to rise to the top, but I’d say almost 100% of the time I’ve had serious pause… it has been legit. I do believe it is better to be safe than sorry. We can make it right with our kids if we over-protected, but we can’t undo harm.

  27. leslie says:

    this post is really interesting to me. i totally understand the reasons why people consider not allowing sleepovers, and i love the idea of a ‘sleepunder’ as brought up in the comments above.
    But i’m taking a different perspective here… I grew up, having really great parents, they were careful, but encouraging. they exposed me to all sorts of people and different types of households. I had sleepovers all the time since age 5. My first sleepover was with a girl my age, who happened to have 3 brothers and everyone was home. I grew up with two really great girlfriends who both had brothers. My parents knew my friends parents, and had been to the house just for a few drop offs and play-dates. I attended numerous slumber party birthdays and they were nothing but fun and no scandals ever came from them (aside from a few warm water cups on the finger to pee tricks.)
    Every case is situational, and it is absolutely parents call to make decisions for the safety of their children. I know it has become a fine line, and everyone has to be extremely careful, which is why I love your ‘close circle’ idea. Thats a great way to decide who you trust and are comfortable with.

    • Hi Leslie… I definitely think in the scope of this discussion we can swing to over-zealously cautious… or fear-tacticish. I think what I find interesting is the folks who have had good experiences as children are more open, and the ones who did not are more cautious. Which, I think is totally in line with how we as humans deal with any issue.

      I think if I could sum-up my overall position is mindful parenting. And I completely agree – every case is situational. We don’t have easy access to family for help, so we had to open up the idea of sleepovers fairly early on. Which I think set into my mind the close circle concept – since I think my youngest was still 2 – I went into the hospital to have my 2nd child and he wasn’t coming with!

      We do allow sleepovers, but we are very mindful and always reassessing. People change, children change and for us, we don’t go into this kind of “playdate’ lightly… especially since I am one of those who had a couple bad experiences as a child and have people in my life who have suffered from the unthinkable…

      Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your perspective. I SO appreciate hearing from you, Leslie πŸ™‚

  28. becca says:

    I 100% agree with you! This happened to one of my siblings and she was at her very best friends house. It really is a tough topic but I have known too many people to have had situations to make me believe only special occasions are allowed. I guess the key is to make sure you have a very open line of communication with your children as well so that if something does happen they will always want to come to you.

  29. Karissa says:

    I read a great article once about not teaching stranger danger. http://www.checklistmommy.com/2012/02/09/tricky-people-are-the-new-strangers/

    I found this very wonderful. I am a social worker and I think it is a great approach to teaching kids about safety, in a realistic way.

    • Absolutely. Yes. That is an excellent post. I’ve heard that too, and have talked to my kids about that very topic. Thank you for sharing it, Karissa! I so appreciate you taking the time!

  30. Karri says:

    Wait. Am I the only parent aside from Leslie who wasn’t scarred by a sleepover as a kid and whose parents didn’t burn some torrid evil images into my friends brains??

    Sleepovers were a huge part of my childhood. A happy part of it. Something I don’t want to deny my children. I can’t imagine missing out on the little things like being 12-13-14-15-16 and giggling over silly things with a BFF until the wee hours of the night.

    I do agree – its situational. I live in a close knit neighborhood where I don’t just know my kids friends parents. I KNOW them. I know their house inside and out. And I’d like to think that our relationship with our children is one where, if something uncomfortable would happen, our children would not hesitate to come to us.

    • Sarah says:

      IHiHsHi Karri — I’m the blogger who wrote “Tricky People” Are The New Strangers — http://www.checklistmommy.com/2012/02/09/tricky-people-are-the-new-strangers/ — and I agree with you — I went to dozens of sleepovers, and nothing terrible ever happened to me or my friends. I can’t imagine telling my kids sleepovers are off-limits (in fact my 5yo is BEGGING for them already). I prefer to let my kids out into the world with the skills to protect themselves — rather than keeping them FROM the world. So yeah, I think this is maybe a big panic over not-so-much, myself …

      • Hi Sarah! GREAT POST. I COMPLETELY agree. I have spoken a few times on internet safety for families and shared this very sentiment, though I wish I’d had your article to share during those presentations. Going to bookmark it! And makes me realize I need to revisit the topic with my own kids.

        I mentioned this in my comment to Karri, but the theme I keep seeing is those who were not negatively affected in their experience do not see there is an issue. And those who did, feel there is. It’s hard to trump personal experience.

        Personally, my intent is not to keep my children from the world. My intent is to, as much as I am reasonably able, protect my children from something that could possibly alter their entire life. “You can’t unring that bell” comes to mind…

        My kids are plenty involved and affected by the world.

        My perspective: I can be intentional and work hard to protect my kids by educating them so they are prepared if they find themselves in a dangerous situation. But to be willing to allow a 7 year old to be in a position where she would have to practice that? I doubt any parent would choose that for our children. Back to that personal expereince – I have just seen that it can and does happen, and my point in this post is I want to suggest that extra thought isn’t so bad when there is such a high price tag.

        I so appreciate you coming by, Sarah, and taking the time to share your perspective. I think sleepovers can be great fun… I went to some really fun ones as a kid, and a couple where the parental judgement was probably not what my parents had in mind. Sadly, it seems the overall expressed testimony suggests there might be a much darker underbelly than we want there to be.

    • I’m sure there are few of us who would mindlessly set our kids off to the hands of perfect strangers… though I have met a couple parents who would have sent their children with me – almost sight unseen. I know I’m fine, but I don’t think they really had time to know I was. Maybe I just have that safe look πŸ™‚

      And I do think it’s situational. What I’ve seen in comments here and in a couple other spaces about this topic, those who have not had a negative experience are more open. Those who have, are more cautious. I have to remain very vague in the two instances that have affected me/people I have close connection with… and I just really can’t say much more. I just have seen the exception and it’s hard to not be affected by that.

      Thank you so very much for joining in and sharing your view point, Karri πŸ™‚

  31. Susa Smith says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this article. I do not allow sleepovers,unless we have out of town guests or family. I agree with late nights, movies and junk food. I am curious for feed back about sending kiddos to Christian camp. Bless you all.

  32. lyndsey says:

    AMEN! I totally agree with everything you pointed out. In today’s world, there are just WAY too many weird / gross / scary things that can happen.

    Besides that — even if absolutely nothing bad happens at the sleepover — you still don’t get anything GOOD. Kids stay up too late, get into mischief, and come home tired & cranky. The whole family pays for it — no thanks! My kiddo is only 1 but we’ve already decided that sleepovers will be off limits.

  33. lyndsey says:

    Oh, and I second the mention of Pattie Fitzgerald at Safely Ever After. She is AMAZING at teaching parents how to talk to their kids about dealing with tough topics like molestation without making it awkward or scary — so you can PREVENT it from happening. Totally recommend taking her class if you’re in LA, or getting her book if you’re not. http://safelyeverafter.com/

  34. Jo says:

    Oh Gosh…I just don’t even know where to start…I only allow sleepovers in my home where I know what is happening and I know my child is safe. I do not allow her to spend the night with people I do not know EVER. End of story. PERIOD. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200. Thankyouverymuch!

  35. Kim C. says:

    No. It’s too risky. What a sad world we live in where something so innocent can cause damage to our children. I taught an inner healing bible study at my church years ago – many wounded hearts joined the class.
    Women in their 30’s and 40’s who still carried the scars from being molested during their childhood. πŸ™

    Kim Conger

  36. Suzanne says:

    Awesome post Jenny. I really need to come here often but I have been out of the blogreading phase for some time…

    My kids are all 13 and older now. We’ve always been VERY careful with everything they are exposed to, but as they have gotten older, more and more sleepover opportunities have come up. We eventually pulled away from “no sleepovers ever” and moved into “only with people we know and trust”. But that wasn’t until they were older. I still won’t EVER let them do the youth group lock-in thing at church. I mean, really?

  37. Annie says:

    As a juvenile probation officer of 15 years (retired) I can tell you that the “sleep-over” should be banned.

    I cannot tell you how many kids wound up in my office because they went to spend the night at a friend’s house. Someone got the bright idea to leave the house once the parents were asleep. They went to a party and the cops came and they got charged with possession of alcohol or drugs (like everyone at the party who didn’t run), or they were pulled over by the police for being out after curfew and got a curfew ticket. Kids get exposed to pornography at friends’ homes, and even their own if a friend just wants to “Show” them something.

    Where I used to live, a girl got kidnapped off of her own trampoline where she and friends were sleeping for the night.

    This is not the world we used to live in.

    It is so hard to say no when our children are pressing us. My kids did have sleep overs, mostly at my house. My daughter is the youngest and only girl. She slept at some friends fairly often, but I was very comfortable with the families.

    It is so hard to know what to do.

    Now I have a stepdaughter (13 years old) who asks the same questions. It’s tough. We just have to protect them to the best of our judgement.

  38. I agree! We have had 1 sleepover…at our house…& my 7 year old wants more but the fact is, I trust very few people with her. Does that make me cynical? Maybe. I prefer to think of it this way: If I am going to err, I will err on the side of caution.

    Additionally, I fear opening my home up to kids I don’t know well. What if someone accused us of doing something inappropriate when we didn’t do anything? I do not want to get into a he said/she said thing. It’s simply not worth it to jeopardize our family’s future.

    So, yes…I’m the mean mom who is NOT down with sleepovers. I kinda like the idea of a “sleep under.” Having my daughter have friends over, they get into their pj’s, watch movies, etc. & then the friends go home at bedtime. Maybe I can sell that one to my kid. πŸ™‚

  39. tiff says:

    I wasn’t allowed to attend sleepovers n I don’t allow my children to attend them either ….althought my kids r not teenagers yet …you can never fully trust anyone. not even ur own children …a friend of mine let her daughter 14 and she trusted n swore her daughter told her everything ..well after everyone was asleep the daughter snuck out …long story short she’s 5 months pregnant…..so I stand my grounds n my children can have fun sleeping in their own beds

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